Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Aquarium Maintenance

Dwarf gourami, Trichogaster lalius
Dwarf gourami, Trichogaster lalius

There are several jobs that need to be carried out on a regular basis if the aquarium is to remain in top condition. These jobs are vitally important for the well being of the whole tank. A proper maintenance schedule should be made and kept to if the tank is to keep looking at its best. If neglected the tank will soon become an eyesore and the fishes health will suffer. The vast majority of cases of poor health in fish can be blamed on poor water quality as a major cause.

Below is a simple example of a maintenance schedule but you should make one based around the needs of each individual tank.


  1. Check that all the fish are alive and behaving normally.
  2. Remove all uneaten food, and any dead leaves from the plants.
  3. Check the temperature
  4. Check all the equipment.


  1. All the daily checks plus the following.
  2. Check the pH
  3. Top up the tank to make up for evaporated water.
  4. Clean the front glass with an algae magnet
  5. Clean the condensation covers

Every Two Weeks

  1. All the above plus the following.
  2. Carry out a partial water change
  3. Clean the substrate.
  4. Clean the filters.
  5. Carry out all water test.

You may find it useful to make a note of all the water test you carry out so that you can decide if you need to change more water at the regular water change, or if the filters need changing more or less often than suggested etc.

If you keep to these rules you will be rewarded by the results you obtain

In detail

Check the fish are all present and behaving normally. Look for signs of trauma which may indicate bullying, and look for signs of panting, lethargy, gasping all of which indicate a water quality problem. If there is a problem the first thing to do is to check the water quality for ammonia, nitrite and pH.

Check the equipment, this means check that the filter is flowing freely and unrestricted. Check the temperature of the water to ensure the heater is working properly. Make sure all the light tubes are working and dry.

Make it a habit to routinely check the water quality, this will help you to spot a potential problem before it becomes a real problem.

Water changes cannot be over emphasized and they are THE most important part of all tank maintenance.

Give the substrate a really good stir with your hands (don't just run a gravel vac over the surface of the substrate and expect it to be clean) then let the debris settle with the filters turned off and siphon it away as you change the water failing to do this properly will allow the nitrates to rise quickly.

Clean the filters, you don't need to be to aggressive about this. As long as water flows through the filter quite freely then they are clean enough, over cleaning could result in a drop off in performance as to many nitrifying bacteria could be lost.

Only use old aquarium water to clean the filter media and never tap water because cold tap water could have to much chlorine in it which will harm the nitrifying bacteria. Never replace the filter media unless you absolutely have to, ignore the makers recommendation of replacing the media every few weeks because this would be the absolute worst thing to do.

Having a good maintenance regime in place will show with the results that you get back from your tank. A neglected tank is an eyesore, a well maintained tank is a thing of beauty which everyone will notice and it will be problem free for many years.